Category: CREB (26)

newplanThe Calgary Real Estate Board reports statistics that indicate we currently have six weeks of available single family inventory (Feb 13/19). The last time I recall our inventory of homes this low was in 2007 and everyone was discussing the critical state of the market. Of course this is a snapshot in time and we will not run out of homes to sell (while we had 447 sales, there were also 612 new listings that week), but it is an indicator of the status of our market, the relative level of inventory and an indication of a buyer or sellers market. In fact, one could assume that the actual level of inventory is even lower due to a CREB rule which does not enforce true reporting of status on their mls system (we don’t know how many homes are actually sold, as clients may instruct to retain an active status while under contract). So without over-analyzing this data, the bottom line is this: The market clearly favors sellers and if you were thinking of selling your real estate in the next while,  there may be no better time than now. We are negotiating record prices for most inner city real estate and even some suburban and acreage properties are selling that have been sitting on the shelf for many months. Where to start? Contact us to get a current state of the market assessment of the value of your home with no obligation and you will be armed with all the facts you need to make an informed decision. Who knows, you may look back in a year or so and marvel at your genius.

MLS-listingsIt’s difficult for any Home Buyer to make a final decision until they have been exposed to ALL the available Real Estate Listings and be assured that they did not miss a better home. Today your real estate agent has a host of technology available to assist Home Buyers in their search. Properly deployed, these technologies ensure that all available listings are at your disposal and that a Buyer is not overburdened or confused by viewing property that does not fit their criteria. Your REALTOR® has access to your local Multiple Listing System (MLS®) where they post available listings for other cooperating agents to view and sell. This is a local private database which is available to REALTOR® members of organized real estate. For example, members of the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) host a local database of available listings from their over 5,000 REALTOR® members. These REALTORS® are required to abide by rules governing their use of data, business ethics and how they cooperate. This system enables members to have access to all the new listings immediately when they are entered into the system . Access to this system ensures that you have the most up to date information and assures that you are seeing all the listings Real Estate Listings currently available on the MLS®.

Your agent should be able to set up a custom search for you that will email you this information immediately. Alternately, there are many sites that allow to you locate new listings manually or allow you to sign up for automatic updates. Armed with this information and a great Real Estate Agent, you can be assured to stay on top of all the new listings, the minute they come on to the market and not be overburdened by information on homes that do not fit your criteria.

market value of home

Before you can make an informed decision about selling your home you often need to verify the Market Value of your Home. Market Value is defined as the price that you could expect to sell your Home on the open market given a normal period of exposure. Receiving an accurate estimate of the Market Value can be crucial if your next purchase depends on the equity in your existing home, or if your finances allow little margin for error. What then is the best method of obtaining the most accurate estimate of Market Value?

There are several routes to obtaining  an estimate of market value and a handful of methods which can be employed, most based on accepted appraisal practice. One method would be to simply hire a Certified Appraiser to complete a “market value” appraisal of your home.  Appraisers will prepare market value appraisals and are bound by guidelines to use similar comparable properties which have sold in the past six months. A market value appraisal is just that: an estimate of what the property would fetch on the open market and this typically is the most applicable. Other types of appraisals include income valuations, which are generally used in income producing property and replacement cost, which is applicable for insurance valuation. To have an appraisal prepared you would contact a certified appraiser from the Appraisal Institute of Canada.

Some homeowners base their value on their City Assessment and while this can provide a rough estimate, these values can range widely and should not be used as a reliable indicator or your current market value. City Assessments are based on a model of mass appraisal which estimates the broad value of your type of home based on similar homes in your surrounding area.

The third method would be to use the services of an experienced Real Estate Agent to evaluate the market value. The advantage of this method is that while Appraisers are bound to use historical methods to estimate the value of your home at the present time, an agent can draw upon the same broad base of comparable sales and can extrapolate into the the future based on current market conditions. This is very important in a rapidly changing market (of rising or declining values) where  you need to know the value based on the intricacies of a complex local market which is in flux. Using this local and up to the minute intelligence, an experienced agent can ensure that you extract every dollar of value and don’t leave any money on the table in an increasing market. Similarly when the market is declining, a good Agent will provide knowledge that will place you ahead of the market and allow you to sell before the market declines.
The disadvantage of using an agent is simply the nature of the industry where there are hundreds of agents with a variety of skill sets and competencies competing for your business. This makes it important that you use the most knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy agent to ensure that the agent does not simply “buy your business” by giving you a favorable number that appeases you and then lets you down later when the market provides you the stark reality of your homes value.

Sano Stante Real Estate  provides premium real estate service to discerning Calgary area clientele for over 30 years. If you are thinking of selling, call us to receive an expert market evaluation of your home.

early-signs-of-spring-marketCalgary’s warm weather is pushing up more than daisies this spring. Home buyers appear to beating a steady path to Calgary in search of new employment and the new optimism in Alberta’s economy is providing traction to our real estate sector.

Last month, single family home sales increased 17% over March 2011 and Condo sales increased over 7% from the previous year. Coupled with an overall reduction of 1.8% in new listings the effect is to shift the advantage from a Buyers’ market to a Seller’s market in many sectors. We”ve witnessed a marked increase in the inner city especially in the market for 50’ sub-dividable lots which is now attracting multiple offers on properties which are priced correctly. Overall, we expect the resurgence in the market to continue to gain solid momentum this year as demand continues to pick up with increased in migration to supply new jobs. The only speed bumps in sight for the near term would be significant increases in mortgage interest rates. For more details view the full CREB market update.

MLS-Home-Price-IndexAbout the MLS® Home Price Index

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) provides time-related indices on residential housing markets of participating real estate boards in Canada. The MLS® HPI is the best and purest way of determining price trends in these markets. Pioneered by the real estate boards of Calgary, Fraser Valley, Greater Montreal, Greater Vancouver, and Toronto and the Canadian Real Estate Association. In 2009, the partners contracted with Altus Group to develop the MLS® HPI, which launched the MLS® HPI in January 2012.

Why an MLS Housing Price Index?

Typically the public has relied on measures such as average or median price. These real estate boards wanted to develop an improved method to capture and analyze Canadian home prices based on both quantitative and qualitative housing features. Quantitative features captured by the index are, for example, number of rooms and bathrooms, living area above-ground and the age of the home. Qualitative features captured include finished basement, new or resale, and the home’s proximity to schools, golf courses, parks, etc. Essentially the HPI is an index that compares a particular property (say a Calgary bungalow in Mt Pleasant) and tracks it’s change in value over time – a much improved indicator of any typical homes value.

The MLS® Housing Price Index (MLS® HPI) gauges prices relative to January 2005 (an arbitrary benchmark date which happened to contain an abundance of data), and tracks price trends for these benchmark housing types: ▪ Single family homes ▫ 1-storey ▫ 2-storey ▪ Townhouse/row units ▪ Apartment units Benchmark homes are based on typical homes in each neighbourhood. The Benchmark home price is a constant quality home price measure.

Why does it matter? Average and median home prices are often misinterpreted, are affected by changes in the mix of homes sold, and can swing dramatically from month-to-month (based on the types and prices of properties that sold in a given month). The MLS® HPI overcomes these shortcomings. Compared to all other Canadian home price measures, the MLS® HPI identifies turning points sooner, is the most current, and is the most detailed and accurate gauge for Canadian home prices.

The MLS® HPI is based on homes sold by Realtors® and is provided as a service from participating real estate boards to its members and the public. For the best and most accurate market data on your property contact us at 403-289-3435 or email [email protected].

For public information visit MLS® HPI

Condo Size

Measuring Condo Size

In Alberta condominiums are surveyed by the builder to determine the respective size of the common and private areas of the individual condo units. Developers have some latitude in deciding what to include in the registered size at the onset of the development and many will include areas such as storage, balconies (including outdoor) and parking areas in the calculation of
registered unit size. This registered size is then used to apportion the respective fees that condo owners pay for shared resources.

This all sounds fair enough, so why do some Buyers protest when they re-sell their condo and their real estate agent tells them that their home is smaller than they claim? The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®) has rules for the measurement of homes so that all homes are represented equitably. These rules have been in place for decades and they provide consumers with an assurance that the home they are purchasing is accurately represented. One CREB® rule for condominiums states that the living area must be heated, interior living space.
Developers who sell their property through in-house sales representatives who are not members of CREB® are not required to abide by these guidelines. As a result, the living area may be represented to include those unheated areas that show the space larger than CREB® measurements would allow. When the homeowner calls a real estate agent to re-sell the condo they are often surprized to realize that their 1,000 s.f. condo is really only 900 s.f. when measured by
these MLS® System standards and that this standards is a requirement to list the property on CREBs® MLS® System.

CREB®, and their provincial counter-part AREA, have been working to protect the public from such issues by lobbying the Government to mandate the Surveyors to standardize the measurement of registered size across the province and eliminate the variance in representation. CREB® is also working to educate
real estate agent’s and the public to the issue and raise public awareness to ask the right questions before buying a condo.

To ensure that you are protected make sure you ask the Developer how the registered and unit size is calculated in the project. For the best protection and to assure yourself that you are buying right, enlist the services of a licensed real estate agent to represent you even if you are looking at new developments before you start shopping for a condo. Developers have fees built-in to the purchase to reimburse your real estate agent and this way you can have your real estate agent show you comparative new and used properties, help you determine the best lifestyle and value choices and even provide you with a market valuation of a property before you buy.

This is just one of the many reasons to ensure you call a real estate agent before you start shopping and ensure that you won’t be disappointed after the purchase.

 

important to look for when buying a home

buying a home

What is most important to look for when buying a home has much to do with the Buyer’s lifestyle and stage in life, as well as a other factors that experienced real estate agents evaluate.
To flesh out these nuances, ensure that you spend ample time with your real estate agent in a Buyer review. This is an interview where you review every aspect of buying a home, ensuring that there are no issues that would preclude you from buying your home, determining the best criteria for your new home, and  educating you on the entire process from start to finish.

Following this review you should have a solid foundation and comfort with the process you will be undertaking, a detailed understanding of the criteria you require in a home, and knowledge of how to go about selecting the best property. Essentially, after this review, all that is remaining for you is to pick the property that you “love” because you will only be viewing homes that fit all of your criteria – making the selection process that much easier and saving you an enormous amount of time.

The one common theme that emerges from these reviews which highlights what is most important to look for when buying is to “buy what you can’t change”

What do we mean by this?

Aspects of a property that you cannot change would be:

  • Location and surrounding neighbourhood
  • Zoning, restrictions, bylaws and regulations
  • Other factors that are outside of your control or too onerous to change such as major structural issues.

The components of a property that you can change are:

  • Cosmetics (paint, flooring and decorating)
  • Minor plan shifting (moving or opening a few walls)
  • Non-structural repairs
  • Landscaping

Often the best value can be discovered hidden in properties that are the less appealing, but with issues that are easily overcome. Conversely some of the biggest problems we have witnessed arise from properties that had lots of surface appeal masking a location issue, structural problem or other permanent condition. It”s easy to fall prey to these, so be certain to rely on an experienced real estate agent to guide you past these and shed light on the more important aspects of a property. Also, ensure that you insist on a home inspection as a condition of the purchase to ensure that you discover any serious issues that may be hidden beyond obvious sight.

There are more permutations and quirks to buying the right home than can be described in a synopsis, however a very important point is to ensure that you get the best representation on your side. Choosing the best real estate agent to find the perfect home won”t cost you any more and can save you much more than dollars – it can affect the rest of your life. Sano Stante real estate group has provided over three decades of expert real estate service to thousands of satisfied homeowners. We can help – call us.

 

home inspection

Home Inspection


When buying a new or used home, after negotiating the price and terms, it is typical to include a period of due diligence to ensure the Buyer that the home is sound beyond the initial appearance. This is when a Buyer will perform a home inspection of the property.

Typically a period of five to ten days is negotiated in the contract to allow for the Buyer to engage a qualified home inspector to inspect the property and produce a report. If the report is not satisfactory to the Buyer then the Buyer has the option of not proceeding with the purchase.

Sometimes the inspection uncovers issues that the Seller was unaware of and perhaps would have repaired if they were aware of the issue, especially if the issue would cause further damage if left unattended (such as a leaking toilet seal or roof leak). For issues such as these, it is common that the Seller would agree to repair them prior to closing date. This revision can be written into the agreement as a term of sale satisfying the Buyer to remove their (inspection) condition with an agreed holdback amount should the repairs not be performed by the closing date. If the issues are larger or the Buyer feels uncomfortable with the number or scope of issues uncovered then they would exercise their option to not proceed with the purchase.

If the parties are dealing in good faith, such issue should be substantial and not frivolous or repairable to exercise the option of cancelling the contract. However if the Buyer is satisfied with the inspection or new terms emerging from the inspection they are required to waive their condition within the prescribed due diligence period.

Inspections should not be used as a lever to renegotiate a new contract, except as noted above or if the issue is clearly an issue that could not have been discovered prior to an inspection and the issue is substantive. For example, an uneven floor in an early century home is not a valid reason to use for an inspection because this issue was readily apparent on the Buyer’s original visit without a home inspector. On the other hand, defects such as moisture concealed behind gypsum or mold in a crawlspace are issues that may not be readily visible on a first visit but discovered upon an inspection and are valid issues to raise with the Seller. A roof that has never leaked and is discovered to be 10 years old does not provide you an argument to renegotiate the contract in order to pro-rate the remaining value.

Remember to negotiate in good faith. The Seller is often in the same frame of mind as you the Buyer, so if issues are presented in the proper context a Seller will often thank you for discovering them so that he can repair them before they cause you both further grief and conclude the sale amicably. Sano Stante Real Estate has experts with over three decades of experience in Calgary. Call us.

QuestionSometimes the best laid plans simply don’t work out and often for a myriad of reasons. When you are working with a real estate professional to sell your home, you enter into a service contract with the Brokerage that your agent is licensed with. The terms of the contract describe what duties and services the Brokerage will perform to sell your property and the remuneration that you will provide upon the successful sale of the property. Inherent in this contract is that both parties must perform their duties. The Brokerage agrees to market the property based on the marketing plan they committed to and you must allow the Brokerage to perform these services and pay them an agreed fee when the property sells during the term of the contract.

If the Brokerage does not perform their duties as agreed when the property was listed you may have reason to ask that the listing agreement be terminated, but both the Brokerage and you must mutually agree to the termination.

If you feel that you are not compatible with your chosen agent, one option may be to ask the Brokerage to provide another agent with the same brokerage to represent you. In this case you are honoring your original contract and, with another agent on the job, you may receive greater satisfaction.

Keep in mind that simply because your property has not sold is not valid reason to cancel a contract. There are many variables in the marketplace that your agent has no control over and the price that you agreed to to market the property may be the limiting factor. Marketing a home is a collaborative effort that you undertake with your agent as your guide – meaning that you are responsible to allow showings, stage the property, disclose all necessary information and price the property in line with the market based on your real estate agent’s advice. Only if you feel that you have performed all of your required duties, the Brokerage cannot provide an suitable alternate Agent and the Brokerage has not performed the services that you agreed would it be reasonable to request a termination. You may find that the Brokerage will accept that situation and be willing to move on, or if they have much invested and do not agree with your rationale they may decide to hold until the expiry of the contract.

During your listing term industry rules prevent any other REALTOR® from soliciting you to sell through them, however you are free to solicit and interview other agents if, for example, you are nearing the end of your term and hope to get a jump on listing with another agent.

The best solution is always to communicate with your agent about your expectations and then work collaboratively to achieve the best results together. When hiring any agent make sure that you obtain referrals and past reviews and ask them to thoroughly explain their marketing plan so you have full knowledge of what the expectations are. It’s important to ask your real estate agent to be honest with you about the condition (what improvements need to be done) as well as the real price they expect the market will bear. Often we chose the agent who tells us what we want to hear, over the agent who is more experienced and qualified or perhaps most honest in pricing your home. In our experience, this misguided selection is the most common cause of dissatisfaction later in the relationship.

Contact Sano Stante Real Estate Group if you have any questions about how to go about selecting the best real estate professional.